Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?

Paper towels are soft and absorbent and will easily clean you without irritating your butt. But can you use paper towels as toilet paper to wipe out you bum? Of course, paper towels are safe and are an excellent alternative for toilet paper. But, for goodness’s sake, you are not supposed to flush paper towels down your toilet!

Why Paper Towels Can’t Be Flushed Down the Toilet

It is not safe to flush paper towels down your toilet bowl when you are done using them. You might think that because the word paper is in the product’s name, you could flush paper towels down the toilet. But that doesn’t mean you can safely flush paper towels down the toilet. Paper towels don’t dissolve as quickly as toilet paper because of the way they are made. Paper towels are made to be heavier or more tightly woven than toilet paper to obtain their strong scrubbing property.

This heavy and sturdy weave won’t easily disintegrate or break down and may cause more headaches than you think. It implies that regardless of whether your bowl escapes unscathed, paper towels may block your main sewer line and result in bigger issues. You don’t want that to happen! So don’t even attempt to flush down paper towels!

Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?
Running out of toilet paper?

Other Safe Alternatives If You Run Out of Toilet Paper

Here are some safe alternatives to toilet paper:

1. Paper

Upcycled paper might be an excellent alternative when your toilet paper gets depleted unexpectedly. Try to look for catalogs, your phone book, or a printer paper and use it to wipe out your butt. However, don’t use glossy magazine papers as they have some colored ink that can accidentally rub off your sensitive parts. Similarly to paper towels, you don’t want to flush down glossy magazine paper into your bowl. It may clog your toilet!

2. Cardboard Tissue Paper Roll

Do not throw away the cardboard paper towel rolls with your toilet paper in the box. Peel the layers off the rolls and roll them around until you have a clean piece of paper to wipe with. You can always make the cardboard paper towel roll more comfortable by adding a little water to it when you are about to go to the bathroom.

Again, you don’t want to flush cardboard toilet paper rolls down your bowl. It may result in a clog.

Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?
Cardboard tissue paper roll.

3. Old Cloth

Using a “family cloth” is a traditional method of doing things when you need to use the toilet. You can use any old dishcloth, towel, or t-shirt rag you like to make “family cloths.” Take a few individual old clothes and put them in a stack. Use each old cloth once before disposing of them in a garbage can or sealed hamper.

Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?
Old clothes.

4. Sponge

In ancient Rome, people used sponges to clean themselves instead of using toilet paper. Now, good sanitation is extra imperative when using this method. Sponges quickly become dirty, and bacteria can multiply quickly, so start by washing a new sponge. When you’ve cleaned your sponge thoroughly, submerge it in a solution of  diluted bleach and boiling water for at least 5 minutes, and then dry it thoroughly before reusing it.

Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?

5. Water

When all other methods of washing yourself are unsuccessful, using water to rinse off your butt before you leave the restroom sounds both sanitary and efficient. There are inexpensive bidets that you can buy online or fabricate your own by buying a peri bottle, spray bottle or other similar containers that women use after they’ve delivered. Spray yourself with clean water, and then drip dry.

Can You Use Paper Towels as Toilet Paper?
A bidet toilet sprinkling water.

Safety Ways of Disposing Of Toilet Paper Alternatives

Toilet paper dissolves quickly and more easily than other alternatives for wiping your bum. Most options are thicker and aren’t designed for toilet sewer systems. So, don’t flush alternative toilet paper, pads, and other sanitary products, as they can clog your pipes. Remember that flushing toilet paper alternatives could cause worse problems if you use a municipal sewer system.

If you want to identify whether the substitute toilet paper you’re using is flushable, try the steps below:

  • Put a sheet of your toilet paper substitute into a sealable plastic container.
  • Pour water into the container to about 2 1/3 volume of the container.
  • Shake the plastic container for about 10 seconds.
  • Next, allow the water inside the container to settle and open the lid. If the substitute toilet paper starts to dissolve, then it’s flushable.

To help reduce the smell and mess that comes from using an alternative or reusable toilet paper, purchase a small trash or garbage can that can be sealed after disposal. Use two large trash cans if your family uses a variety of both disposable and reusable toilet paper.

When it’s time to wash your old clothes, you should soak them in warm water and add a little washing detergent or bleach. After that, put them into a washing machine (without mixing with other clothes) and let them wash at high temperatures.

Dry your clothes in the dryer to sanitize them and kill germs. Members of the same family should avoid sharing reusable alternative toilet paper because it can carry yeast, bacteria, and other pathogenic microbes.

Instead, make sure that every family member has their own set of reusable clothes that are different colors so that everyone can easily distinguish the ones that are theirs from the others.


Do paper towels dissolve in the toilet?

Although paper towels are similar to toilet paper, do not mistakenly flush paper towels into your bowl. Although paper towels will finally dissolve in water, this paper is made from a high-quality wood pulp that is more resistant to breaking.

How can I unblock my toilet after using paper towels?

First, use a toilet auger to remove or dismantle any accumulated debris flushed into your toilet bowl. Alternatively, use a hand-held snake with a length of a cleaning cable. A good auger should be curved and made of a plastic sleeve to avoid making scratches on the inner surfaces of your toilet bowl.

What was being used before the invention of toilet paper?

Early people used sand, moss, sticks, leave, and water to wipe their bum. Once farming evolved, corn husks and hay became other excellent options. Those who lived on islands and the coasts used shells to wipe out their bum after answering a long call.

Bottom Line

If you belong to a family with many people, using toilet paper and its alternatives would work perfectly. People choose different toilet paper options based on various factors, including personal preference, availability, cost, and more.

But don’t risk flushing your toilet paper alternative down the toilet bowl. It may result in unfortunate clogs. Also, if you are using the municipal sewer system, it could worsen the problem.

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